As the episode came to an end, I felt there were similarities here to something like The Hunger Games, partially because of the whole future competition aspect, but also how the class systems are set up. Sure none of it is particularly deadly, but the focus on entertainment being the height of society, while those below that either power the world, or are treated as slaves for amusement (in this world the overweight are second class citizens), in either case, I found myself thinking of The Hunger Games quite a lot, but impressed by how much better this handled the concept. Without spoiling anything, as the episode progresses, I found myself genuinely surprised by how much this episode plays so much against what's expected of dystopian tales. By the end we come out feeling darker, more hopeless about the world we witness, yet the choices made makes sense, however wrong we may feel it is, they make sense within the episode, leaving this to be a well crafted cautionary tale of where we may be headed.
I'll admit there are some shortcomings here, namely in the supporting cast, none of the actors are bad, but there's really not much use for the other characters we meet in Bing's work area, sure they help illustrate the awfulness of the world, but they slow down what already is a well told story. I also couldn't help but feel the episode's focus on Abi midway through felt a bit odd, I get why it's there, but what feels like build up to a story challenging how we perceive women in entertainment, plays more like an odd tacked on moment for our lead to see how bad the world is, just enough for him to try and take a stand. It all could've been handled better. Still I do find the strengths to cover that up for the most part.
Fifteen Million Merits is another strong entry in Black Mirror. While a shorter run time might've helped this episode, I feel it's themes and overall message are strong enough to make this a better entry than the last episode. Another episode recommended as I run through this, show stay tuned for the season one finale.
Written By Octaviano Macias